Make a Smaller Gift Box

There you are in the throws of wrapping.  Plenty of shirt boxes at hand, but it is a smaller box you desire.  This little trick I learned from my mother.  All you need is the lid (or the bottom) of a shirt or coat box and a pair of scissors.  Smaller Box 8Here’s how it’s done.

Begin with the open side up.  Fold the short end of the rectangle over toward the interior edge of the flap on the opposite side and crease firmly.  Repeat on the other end.Smaller Box 1Smaller Box 2Smaller Box 3

Using sharp scissors, cut the creases made on the outer sides (you will make 4 cuts).Smaller Box 4Tuck in the flaps and fold over.Smaller Box 6Viola!  A smaller box perfect for that little something.  Smaller Box 7You can wrap it or leave it white and adorn with a ribbon.  Smaller Box 8


Chic Side Table Makeover

After our little painting tutorial, Mary and I have been chomping at the bit to try out our new skills!  My mom’s cute side table seemed like the perfect little thing in need of a fix-up.  The table is old (like probably close to 75 years old!) so it needed a little more than paint.  Here’s how I did it.Chic side table before 2


  • Valspar Super Flat paint
  • sand paper (150 grit)
  • Elmer’s wood glue
  • Durham’s Rock Hard water putty
  • Valspar Antiquing Glaze
  • putty knife
  • assorted brushes
  • paste wax

What to Do:

First, I removed the hardware.  Next I gave the little chest a good sanding to rough it up so it would take the paint.  Then I wiped it all down with a damp paper towel.  During this process, I discovered a few things that needed to be fixed.  I secured a broken piece of trim with some wood glue.  And, yes, that is a chip clip clamping it together.  Work with what you’ve got!Chic side table leg fixBecause the chest was so old, I could find any drawer pulls that were the right size.  So I decided to just use single knobs instead.  This meant I had to get rid of 4 holes in the drawers.  I simply followed the directions on the water putty to mix it, then filled the holes and scraped off the excess with my putty knife.  After it dried, I sanded a bit more to even it out.  It worked perfectly!Chic side table puddy holesAfter the glue and putty were dry, I was ready to paint.  I ended up putting 3 coats on to cover the dark wood.  I made sure to use even strokes.Chic side table paintWhen the piece was completely dry, I used the same 150 grit sand paper to rub paint off of the edges.  In the words of my sister, I didn’t want it too shabby but I wanted it “oh, so chic.”Chic side table distress  After my sanding was done, I wiped the chest down again with a damp paper towel to remove the excess dust.  Then I poured a small amount of antiquing glaze into a small paint tray and mixed it with water until it was a much thinner consistency.  I brushed it on with a thin, jagged-ended brush.  If I ever thought that I applied too much, I just went back over it with a wet brush to get the desired effect.  When it was dry, I applied the paste wax and then buffed it off with an old towel.  I let that dry for about 24 hours and then applied the new knobs.chic side table after close upI love how it turned out and, most importantly, so did my mom!Chic side table after

DIY Gumball Machine

We recently did this cute craft at our MOPS group.  It is simple, adorable, and can be adapted for any holiday or occasion.Gumball Machine 1

Supplies: Gumball Machine supplies

  • small terra cotta pot
  • small terra cotta saucer
  • round glass vase/bowl
  • wooden knob
  • spray paint in your choice of color
  • glue gun


Spray paint the saucer, pot, and knob with paint of your choice.  (You can use regular paint, too, but spray paint is just quicker!)  Allow time to dry.  Turn the pot upside down and, using the glue gun, secure it to the glass bowl.  Now, affix the knob to the bottom of the saucer.  This will be your lid.  Fill with your favorite candy and top the glass bowl with the lid.Gumball Machine close upGumball Machine 2

Changing the candy can turn this into a seasonal decoration and adjusting the size can make this craft suit your needs.Gumball Machine Halloween close upGumball Machine Halloween

DIY Chalk Paint

You know how we love chalkboard paint, but have you heard of chalk paint?  It’s the paint that makes prep work unnecessary.  You can purchase it already made (at upwards of $30 or $40 per quart!) or you can follow our quick tutorial for a much less expensive, and equally beautiful, option.

I purchased this soon-to-be adorable bookshelf from a consignment shop, and was able to get a solid wood shelf for the same price as what a particle board shelf would have cost me at a big box store.  I bought a sample size (1 cup) paint color at Lowe’s for about $3.Chalk Paint shelf before


  • 1 cup paint color of your choice
  • 1/2 cup Plaster of Paris
  • 1/2 cup water
  • brush or sponge applicator
  • paste waxChalk Paint supplies

Simply mix the Plaster of Paris with the water until you achieve a smooth consistency.  Mix together with the paint.  I recycled a gallon milk jug for this project by cutting off the side.  Now paint as you normally would.Chalk Paint process

No sanding required!  I did three coats of white to cover the dark wood of this piece.  I chose not to antique the piece, but you could go over the edges with some sandpaper to achieve a worn, chippy look.Chalk Paint wax

When your project is dry, wax it with the paste wax using a soft cloth following the directions on the can of wax.  You may want to wear gloves for this part or you’ll have really water repellent hands!Chalk Paint completeI love the result!

Chic Chicken Coop Table

I came across this old chicken coop at an antique store/junk shop.  I immediately knew I wanted to turn it into a coffee table.  My husband was okay with this, as long as it didn’t go in our house.  He thinks we have enough (maybe too much) furniture.Chic Chicken Coop Table 1But I could not stop thinking about.  So, my back-up plan turned out to be even better.  My sister and her husband both work in the poultry industry AND they just bought a new house.  Instant (and very appropriate) housewarming gift!Chic Chicken Coop Table 3

Chic Chicken Coop Table 2I purchased the coop, casters, and some little clear self-adhesive rubber squares (to protect the glass from the coop).  I had a local glass company cut a piece of glass for the table top.  My husband was actually the one who affixed the casters to the coop with screws, not because I wasn’t capable but because I was working on another project.Chic Chicken Coop Table 4This was super simple and will make a great conversation piece in my sister’s sunroom!

Magnetic Chalkboard Message Center

I have an old house, which I love.  But that also means I have an old kitchen.  The beauty of an old kitchen is that you can pretty much do anything to it and you have improved the looks of it!  With four kiddos bringing home art, invitations, schedules, etc., we needed to revamp our message center.  I realized that I had some prime real estate on the cabinet around my refrigerator.  With a little paint and elbow grease, I was able to transform the cabinet into useable space.Magnetic Chalkboard message center suppliesMaterials:

  • magnetic paint
  • chalkboard paint
  • foam rollers and/or brushes
  • painter’s tape
  • sand paperMagnetic Message Center before


I scuffed up the surface of the cabinet with some sandpaper to help the paint adhere.  Per the directions on the can of magnetic paint, I used a sponge roller to roll on the paint in a thin layer.  I let it dry and repeated 2 more times.  Then I used a roller to roll on the chalkboard paint.

Lesson learned:

Get the magnetic paint shaken at the store.  Even after many coats of paint, this message center is only mildly magnetic because the little metal flecks in the paint weren’t thoroughly mixed throughout the whole can.  It wasn’t exactly as I had envisioned, but was still an improvement.Magnetic Message Center Finished

Quick Note Cards

Whether it is jotting down a reminder for your hubby, sending a last minute message to the teacher or leaving details for the delivery man, writing notes is a part of life.  In an effort to reuse, recycle and reduce, try this tip for adorable note cards at your fingertips.

When you receive a note card, simply cut off the front.  You can trim it with pinking shears if desired or just use a straight pair of scissors and a steady hand.  Toss the back of the card in the recycle bin and store the front in a bin or basket.  Keep a pen along with your collection of reused cards to make scribbling a quick note easier than ever.  Oh yeah, and cute too.

Beautiful Lamp Makeover

I (Holly) have had these lamps for years.  They belonged to my grandmother, and I just loved them.  They aren’t family heirlooms, I’m not a crystal or brass person, and the shades certainly weren’t noteworthy.  I didn’t even have some great memory of my grandmother with the lamps, but I loved them nonetheless.  Maybe I saw the promise in them.  I recently decided to give them the makeover that I knew they needed.


  • 1 can of satin nickel spray paint (you can choose whatever color/finish that you want)
  • 2 new lampshades (the pair cost $30 at Lowe’s)
  • 2 lamp harps (I stole some shorter ones off some extra lamps that I had)


I unscrewed the lamp pieces to expose the base and stem.  I separated all the pieces as much as I could to make the painting easier.  I taped off the cord, and sprayed away.  After drying, I reassembled the lamp and added the new harp and shade.


Adirondack Chairs get a Facelift

With a little sanding, a light primer and a coat of paint, these iconic chairs are as good as new.1.  Fill any holes with wood putty and allow to harden.

2.  Sand away loose paint and smooth uneven areas.

3.  Apply an even coat of primer.  Allow adequate time for the primer to dry.

4.  Paint with two coats of latex paint (made for outdoor wear and tear).  Allow paint to dry thoroughly.

5.  Relax. Ahhhhhh.

DIY Chalkboards using unwanted artwork

I (Mary) have had these prints forever and never liked them.  A light sanding and a little paint (borrowed from Holly, of course) turned them into something I now LOVE!

Here is the original artwork. If you have old artwork you are about to donate to charity or pitch, consider this easy facelift.

  • Step One – lightly sand, if necessary
  • Step Two – cover artwork with newspaper and paint the frame (these were painted with spray paint)
  • Step Three – remove newspaper and apply chalkboard paint to the artwork

Once the paint has dried, you can leave your thoughts any where you like.

 Check out all the ways to use your new chalkboard…..

As a message board

As a tray

As a welcome sign

As decorAs a menu

These are just a few ideas.

Leave a comment telling us how you used your re-purposed artwork.